Last week on Arrowhead Addict, I wrote an article about Andy Reid’s desire to find the Kansas City Chiefs’ next Len Dawson (if you missed it, click here). Dawson is a Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Chiefs to their only Super Bowl title in 1969, easily making him the greatest quarterback in franchise history.
I didn’t list Tyler Bray — the undrafted free-agent from Tennessee — in my gaggle of viable candidates to fill Dawson’s shoes. Why? Because our editor-in-chief, Matt Verderame, disagreed that Bray is a viable candidate to ever make something of himself in Kansas City. So, in light of our disagreement, we decided to have a friendly debate whether or not Tyler Bray is the “quarterback of the future” for the Chiefs.
Q: Do you think Tyler Bray was a legitimate NFL prospect coming out of college?
Verderame: I think Bray had all the physical tools. He’s a big kid with a strong arm, and at times even showed accuracy. When you can tear it up in the SEC, you have some skills. However, I believe there is a reason he went undrafted. Bray has always lacked maturity according to multiple people in the know. Bray was someone I felt might become a backup, but I never saw him as a real candidate to start on a capable team.
Smades: I agree, but I think his lack of maturity was more due to Bray declaring for the draft as a junior in college. He missed out on another year of development.
Q: Do you think Bray has shown enough development as a rookie and second-year backup?
Verderame: No. Bray needs to start making the active roster, something he didn’t do last year due to a mysterious injury. At this point, nobody would argue that Alex Smith is clearly better than Bray and the same for Chase Daniel. Really, it comes down to whether you like the upside of Aaron Murray or Bray more. I’m easily in the Murray camp because he warranted a fifth-round choice after tearing his ACL. If Murray came into the draft process healthy, he’s a second-day pick.
Smades: I want to point to a hall of fame QB by the name of Steve Young. Young came in to the league with the Buccaneers, spent two seasons of some of the most dismal play a QB can make. The Bucs deemed Young a bust, and traded him to the 49ers, where he spent 4 years as Montana’s backup. When Montana left (to Chiefs Kingdom), Young took over, and put together a hall of fame career… Now just to clarify, I’m not comparing Alex Smith to Joe Montana, but the analogy still stands. All a newbie needs is a few years of little to no pressure behind a solid QB and they usually become good.
Q: What, in your opinion, is Bray’s downside(s) as a QB in the NFL?
Verderame: I just don’t see the development. He’s been with the program now for three seasons, and where is the movement up the depth chart? He reminds me of when the Chiefs had Ricky Stanzi, from the standpoint that fans always thought he would develop. Stanzi is now out of the league after flaming out with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Read that last sentence again.
Smades: He keeps getting “hurt”…
Q: There was a lot of debate after the 2014 preseason games about the future of Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray. What are your thoughts on the Chiefs placing Bray on injured-reserve for a “high-ankle sprain”?
Verderame: As I stated above, that injury was bogus. Kansas City wanted to protect Bray from being picked up on waivers, so it put him on IR. I think the brass believes Bray has talent, but him tearing his ACL this January really hurts him. I don’t think he recovers from that because Murray will surpass him.
Smades: Agreed, except I still think, though, that Coach Andy Reid wants to create competition between Murray and whomever. I also think the bogus injury claim indicates the Chiefs like Bray too much to cut him or chance him on waivers. Therefore, the competition is between Bray and Murray. Right now, I would say Murray does have the edge.
Q: In the 2015 offseason, Bray again was placed on injured-reserve, this time for tearing his ACL in a non-football activity. What do you think are the consequences of being injured in consecutive seasons?
Smades: I don’t think checkmate, but he only has his king, maybe a knight or rook, and a couple pawns. Bray has recently tweeted that he is running on 100% of his weight, so he’ll be back soon. Hopefully he’s taken advantage of the time he’s been injured, and developed his mind and maturity to match his physical ability. In chess terms, he hopefully got his pawn to the other side, and exchanged it for his queen.
Q: Do you think Bray has a future in the NFL?
Verderame: I think Bray will get released by the Chiefs at some point, and a team will take a chance on him because he’s low-risk and potentially high-reward. The worst-case scenario is that he flames out and gets cut without costing a cent. However, I don’t think he ever takes a meaningful snap in an NFL game.
Smades: He’s 6 feet six inches tall, and has a rocket of an arm… Any quarterbacks coach would want to tinker with that.